Dredge hauls of fresh submarine basalt collected from the axis of the Reykjanes Ridge (Mid-Atlantic Ridge) south of Iceland were taken aboard R/ V TRIDENT in 1967 and 1971. The samples show systematic changes as the water depth of collection (and eruption) decreases: radially elongate vesicles and concentric zones of vesicles appear at about 700 m depth and are conspicuous to shallow water; the smoothed volume percent of vesicles increases from 5% at 1000 m, 10% at 700 m, to 16% at 500 m, and the scatter in degree of vesicularity increases in shallower water; specific gravity decreases from 2.7??0.1 at 1000 m to 2.3??0.3 at 100 m. Bulk sulfur content for the outer 2 cm averages 843 ppm up to a depth of 200 m, then drops off rapidly in shallower water owing to degassing. Sulfur content below 200 m is independent of depth (or geographic position), and the melt is apparently saturated with sulfur, but the excess cannot escape the lava unless another vehicle carries it out. Only shallower than 200 m, where intense vesiculation of other gases occurs can excess sulfur be lost from the lava erupting on the sea floor. H2O+110?? averages about 0.35 percent and H2O+150?? about 0.25 percent, and both apparently decrease in water shallower than 200 m as a result of degassing. H2O+ (below 200 m) decreases with distance from Iceland or increasing depth, presumably as a result of either adsorption of water on the surface of shallower, more vesicular rocks; or more likely due to the presence of the Iceland hot mantle plume supplying undifferentiated primordial material, relative to lavas of the Reykjanes Ridge supplied from the low velocity layer already depleted in volatiles and large lithophile elements. The H2O+110??/S ratio of lava erupting below 200 m water depth ranges from 3 to 5 which is comparable to reliable gas analyses from oceanic basaltic volcanoes. ?? 1973 Springer-Verlag.
Additional publication details
Vesicles, water, and sulfur in Reykjanes Ridge basalts